If you’ve drifted apart from your partner, don’t fret. Marriage, like all relationships, requires upkeep and maintenance, but when everyday life or a stressful event gets in the way, it’s easy to de-prioritize your marriage and end up like ships passing in the night. If this sounds familiar and you’re wondering how to reconnect with your spouse, keep reading.
It is definitely possible to get the spark back with your partner, and there are many things to do with your spouse to reconnect.
First of all, you need to acknowledge whether you have truly disconnected from your partner, or if you’re in a temporary rut. There are several things that can cause a married couple to drift apart:
Work schedules and/or stressful jobs
Pregnancy and childbirth.
Unexpected stressful life events, like grieving the loss of a loved one.
Unresolved relationship issues.
A true disconnect manifests in resentment and awkwardness. Perhaps it feels like every time you talk is a negative interaction — you’re arguing constantly, not having sex, and you’ve stopped doing the little things that bring each other joy.
You might benefit from speaking to a marriage therapist, but more often than not, the key to reconnecting with your spouse lies in trying something new.
The good news is that you can fall in love again, and trying something new may even strengthen your marriage. You might feel like you know everything about each other when in reality, you’ve both grown and developed as people.
So yes, there are ways you can revive that love and make you look forward to spending time together again. Be open-minded and ready to tackle underlying problems first.
It’s important to be open and honest with each other — even about the bad stuff. So, if you feel they’re spending more time with friends than at home with the family, say so. If you’re self-conscious about getting undressed in front of them, say so.
“The challenge for couples is that oftentimes attempts at connection can trigger an argument,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Relationship Expert for Paired.
“An easy and even silly way to help step out of that pattern is to clearly state when you want to connect with you more. Using direct eye contact and sharing that this is me making it a priority. It helps the other partner might start to interpret the behavior with that intention in mind.”
Keep it open and calm, not aggressive or accusing. Allow them to speak their mind too and talk through ways to compromise. There are simple things you can do to reconnect both emotionally and sexually.
Write a love letter. There’s something so personal about receiving a handwritten letter. Your spouse can treasure this forever, and you’ll be reminded of all the reasons why you love them.
Draw up a bucket list. Then go and hit those goals together! You might discover things you never knew about each other, like trying a bungee jump.
Play a game together. Even if it’s something as simple as Scrabble, get on Amazon and order yourself some mind-bending challenges. It beats another night in front of Netflix.
Make time for conversation. You could try a no-phone hour, where you have dinner together and really talk about your day, or even a few minutes before breakfast. (The Paired app is a great place to start).
Schedule your date night. Sometimes we can’t be spontaneous, so make a date in the calendar to go out and try new things, like a cooking class.
Talk about sex. This might feel awkward at first, but research shows that couples who talk about sex have a better sex life (and relationship).
Go to bed at the same time. Leaving one partner to watch TV means you won’t get the chance to cuddle and share a daily opportunity for physical intimacy. As humans, feeling touch-starved can seriously impact our well-being.
Initiate touching. Physical intimacy doesn’t have to mean jumping straight to the main course. Start slow with daily hand holding, then cuddling, then take it to the bedroom.
Show them gratitude with a kiss. Say thanks for the little things they do with something physical.
Keep it light. Sex doesn’t need to be serious! It’s important to be playful in your relationship and make each other laugh every day. Try physical teasing to turn them on.
Not all couples drift apart because of time or age. Sometimes, circumstances can derail your relationship, including an extra-marital affair. If your partner feels they cannot trust you, the relationship may break down.
This starts by rebuilding trust. All cards need to be on the table, so you need to discuss why the affair happened and not build further lies. Of course, this doesn’t have to mean going over everything in graphic detail, but obscuring the truth could break down trust even more.
You or your partner needs to be genuinely remorseful, and ready to work on the relationship again. Likewise, you both need to be invested in working on the relationship, so whether this is counseling, spending time together, or addressing other issues, it will take hard work. If you’ve been cheated on, don’t blame yourself.
Take some time out to write a journal and express your anger positively (even if it’s blasting a playlist and screaming into a pillow). Keep this to yourself, and spend time with your partner on rebuilding your relationship.
Download the Paired app for more ways to reconnect with your spouse.